Oklahoma’s new men’s basketball coach materializes in the practice gym a little before 9 a.m., outfitted in a white polo and black shorts, messenger bag in one hand and breakfast in the other. A Porter Moser in motion tends to stay in motion, and he got moving a couple hours earlier. He worked out long before youth campers shuffled down the Lloyd Noble Center tunnel, even well before his players did their morning conditioning runs. Meetings and film and practice and a top 50 recruit’s visit pack the day from here. For fuel, Moser has a pineapple cup, grapes and a peanut butter dream yogurt. Healthy, but gratuitous. His gauge, in perpetuum, points past full.
It’s the energy behind a three-decade climb to get here, the literal ground floor of a power conference hoops operation to call his own. The nearby film room features a brand new Culture Wall splashed with a multitude of terms and catchphrases canon to a Moser program, hardcourt runes decipherable only to those in the know, just like the one at his last stop. Upstairs, nearly the entire men’s basketball office has already been repainted. The faux-wood blinds on Moser’s own windows are gone. An entirely new set of furniture is on order, including a stand-up desk, because heaven forbid he sit and work for very long.
“I was like, ‘Dude, we gotta change this, right away,'” Moser says, sitting on a couch that’s not long for the space. “It was like I needed a smoker’s jacket and my grandpa’s pipe. I just like it brighter with higher energy. I mean, there’s sun coming in now.”
That’s the aesthetic explanation, and it figures. But there’s something else at work, too, less than three months into a lifelong mid-major coach’s big shot. There’s an insistence. A conviction to counterweigh the gravity of consequence in a job like this, a job in which you have to win because you have to win but also because you have to prove to yourself that your way works, all the time. And for Porter Moser’s way to work, the details have to matter, all the time. Whatever happens has to happen on his terms.
A couple hours earlier, Moser paced through a workout and noticed empty baggies and bottles strewn about the weight room. Remnants from his players fueling up with snacks and shakes before their conditioning. Moser waited for the group to come back inside and got their attention. For two days running, he said, he’d discovered a mess they left for someone else to deal with. That stops now. Leave it like you found it, he told them, citing an old Navy mantra in a voice loud enough to hear in the next room. And, for that matter, say thank you to the nutritionists who put together the drink and snack packets in the first place.